According to National Rental Home Council (NRHC) members, who are owners of rental homes, scammers use a variety of tactics to get people’s money. Some gain access to keys in lock boxes, make copies, and pose as legitimate rental agents. Others hijack a real rental listing by changing the email address or other contact information and then placing the altered ad on another site.
Still others may list a property that’s already leased and then try to collect application fees, security deposits, and even the first month’s rent.
Here are some tip-offs and tools to help you avoid a rental scam:
- Do an online search of the rental company.
- Compare prices.
- Take a tour.
- Ask for identification.
- Before you sign a lease, look for signs at the rental with the name of the property owner or manager.
- Never pay with cash, wire transfers or gift cards.